Leona Wang

Leona Wang

Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Master of Design
Bachelor of Art and Design (Honours)
Bachelor of Design in Fashion Design

Heritage arts and crafts are vital because they’re an artistic expression of a nation’s cultural connotations and its historical development, says Leona Wang who is exploring the topic for her PhD in creative technologies.

“My doctoral research is a practice-based project that focuses on modern technology, as well as the endangered crafts and culture associated with minority ethnic groups in China. Heritage arts and crafts are visual communication tools used to present and sustain the cultural characteristics and artistic traditions of a particular region. These skills, however, are on the verge of extinction. Finding a solution or developing a strategy to slow down the pace of extinction has become increasingly critical for all heritage crafts. This issue is the motivation for my PhD.

“The main objective of my research is to add a new dimension to traditional crafts by integrating modern technologies like electronic textiles to rejuvenate them. Using an experimental approach, this research attempts to investigate and understand what aspects of traditional crafts can be translated into contemporary textiles through material and making processes. The traditional aspects of the craft will be honoured while taking advantage of modern technologies to innovate in this area and engage a younger audience.”

Focusing on weaving and embroidery, Leona plans to create a small collection of e-textiles or garments as part of her research. Her PhD is being supervised by Professor Frances Joseph and Dr Donna Cleveland.

An easy decision
Doctoral study felt like a natural next step for Leona who has already completed a Bachelor of Design, Bachelor of Art and Design (Honours), and a Master of Design at AUT.

“After completing my master’s degree in 2017, I feel now is the time to reconnect with the ideas and projects that truly fascinate me. I enjoy learning new things, and creative technology is an area I’ve always been interested in exploring further.”

She says she has always felt supported throughout her years at AUT, which made it an easy decision to return for her PhD.

“I’ve always received excellent support from AUT staff members even after I had graduated. My supervisors were often sharing ideas with me, which encouraged me to continue with my doctoral degree.”

The right university environment
She has enjoyed the PhD journey so far, says Leona whose studies are supported by a School of Future Environments postgraduate scholarship.

“I’ve really enjoyed learning new skills by attending various workshops, and exchanging ideas with other students and supervisors. I’m also proud of being able to present my research at the Future Living Environments Symposium; an online exhibition at AUT.”

Leona wouldn’t hesitate to recommend postgraduate study in creative technologies.

“AUT provides a variety of resources to help me with my research. A great example is the AUT Textile and Design Lab, which has been extremely beneficial to my study.”

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